A Profile in Courage

A New Orleans archbishop used his authority to confront the evil of his time


Life Issues

Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco continues his bold leadership on issues of national importance with a Sunday op-ed in the Washington Post (September 5). In “Our duty to challenge Catholic politicians who support abortion rights,” Cordileone says bishops must call out the “self-professed” Catholic politicians who are “on the wrong side of the preeminent human rights issue of our time.” The new Texas abortion law has moved the likes of Biden and Pelosi to again weigh in against Church teaching, the natural law, and even common sense.

Cordileone also adds to the USCCB’s ongoing debate over “Eucharistic coherence” and the withholding of Communion from pro-abortion politicians. He draws attention to the example of mid-20th-century New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel, who “courageously confronted the evils of racism.” Rummel was ahead of his time in fighting segregation. Alongside various concrete actions to fully integrate black priests, religious, and parishioners, Rummel was also “willing to threaten opponents of desegregation with excommunication.” He eventually followed through in three cases, “excommunicating a former judge, a well-known writer and a segregationist community organizer.”

Cordileone asks of Rummel’s stance: “Was that wrong? Was that weaponizing the Eucharist? No. Rummel recognized that prominent, high-profile public advocacy for racism was scandalous: It violated core Catholic teachings and basic principles of justice, and also led others to sin.”

The parallels with today’s “high-profile public advocacy” of abortion should be obvious, as should the contrast between today’s equivocating bishops and Rummel.

Cordileone repeats what he has said many times before: “You cannot be a good Catholic and support expanding a government-approved right to kill innocent human beings.”

While I don’t normally link to the Washington Post, this op-ed is worth reading and sharing. The link:



Barbara E. Rose is Web Editor of the NOR.

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